In the past two decades, online wholesale ecommerce has become increasingly popular as more traditional B2B businesses move their operations to the web. According to a study by Statista, the value of Business-to-Business (B2B) ecommerce conducted in the United States increased from $2.7 trillion in 2006 to approximately $7 trillion in 2019. In the wholesale ecommerce for B2B model, retailers buy products from manufacturers at a discounted rate and then resell them to consumers rather than selling individual items.
In this article, we will discuss the modern B2B buyer, the advantages of ecommerce for wholesalers, and what to look for when setting up a wholesale ecommerce store.
Wholesale Vs. Retail For Ecommerce
The primary distinction between wholesalers and retailers is that wholesalers usually transact in large quantities, often dealing directly with businesses. In contrast, retailers tend to operate on a smaller scale and sell their products to consumers. Additionally, there are other distinctions between the two, including:
To be successful, wholesalers must ensure they purchase products at the most economical price, as buying in bulk can lead to substantial savings. Conversely, retailers have more flexibility in pricing since they don’t need to purchase large items. A difference of a few dollars can make or break their profit margin.
While marketing is an essential aspect for both wholesale and retail businesses, it is especially crucial for the success of retailers. Wholesalers usually have fewer customers and focus on selling to businesses, whereas retailers commonly market their products to individual consumers. Thus, due to the fluctuating customer base, which ideally expands over time, retailers must invest more in marketing which consequently influences their profits and objectives.
The level of competition faced by any organization depends on the products and methods of selling they use. Wholesalers have a range of products and markets to choose from as long as businesses are interested in bulk purchases. On the other hand, individual retailers face more intense competition in already-saturated markets. Unless bringing something new to the market, it can be challenging to make a profit.
For retailers, selecting the right location is essential for success. Placing outlets in busy streets or malls can be costly but necessary to attract consumers. Unlike retail businesses, wholesalers usually do not need to worry about geographic presence as they sell their products to other companies.
Wholesalers primarily concentrate on warehousing, shipping, and fulfillment, their primary income sources. Those wholesalers that can successfully merge and streamline their fulfillment process will have more success. On the other hand, retailers can focus little on fulfillment as it is only one part of their business; they spend more time on marketing and branding.
Types Of Wholesalers
Knowing the different types of wholesalers available when entering the market or seeking more information on how it operates is essential. The three most commonly encountered wholesalers that businesses interact with are:
Merchant wholesalers are a well-established business model that purchases large volumes of goods from manufacturers and resells them directly to businesses. Such wholesalers boast vast experience and industry knowledge, making them highly regarded in the field. Organizations entering the wholesale space can leverage these relationships with merchant wholesalers for significant benefit.
Within the wholesaler industry, agents and brokers negotiate the best possible price with manufacturers, acting directly for merchant wholesalers or as independent contractors. They leverage their knowledge of the financials of the wholesaler market to get favorable deals.
Sales And Distribution
Sales and distribution teams are usually based in the offices of a manufacturer. They are responsible for negotiating wholesale deals, from valuing products to selling them. They have a direct association with manufacturers, so they may be less reliable than other types of wholesalers when developing fair sales strategies.
Ways Wholesalers Can Benefit From Using Ecommerce
In the past, B2B sales relied heavily on sales reps cultivating long-term relationships with potential customers, even for simple transactions. With the emergence of ecommerce, however, many businesses have shifted their sales operations to an online store platform and are reaping the rewards.
Meet Buyers Where They Are
Wholesale ecommerce businesses can use their website, social media platforms, and different marketplaces to reach customers worldwide. This multi-channel approach provides additional chance company tomers to discover the company as they switch between devices and channels. As suggested by Wunderman Thompson’s study, almost half of B2B purchases are conducted online, with 62% of B2B buyers wishing for specialized smartphone apps to purchase from.
Selling wholesale products online is a great way to increase visibility and expand into new markets, allowing you to reach customers that would otherwise have been inaccessible without investing in a physical store.
Potential To Grow Revenue
Companies are driven by the potential to increase their revenue – and wholesalers are no exception. Wholesalers offer discounts on bulk purchases while balancing profitability. By utilizing an ecommerce platform, they can cut costs while expanding their online presence.
Outdated communication methods or static online sites often hinder wholesalers. A well-crafted website can enable buyers to browse through the inventory easily, identify what they want to buy, and speed up the transaction process.
TYGRIS, a cleaning and protective solutions wholesaler, has been selling its products primarily by email or telephone for some time. With the current shortage of sanitization items in the UK, TYGRIS has needed help with its sales approach.
By partnering with BigCommerce, TYGRIS created a streamlined website that dramatically improved its sales process and enabled them to reach customers more efficiently. This led to an impressive 99% rise in sales orders and a 138% increase in revenue in the first year.
Because of TYGRIS’ ecommerce website, potential customers can quickly locate what they are searching for with available stock levels, pricing, and product information. This allows them to make orders confidently.
Automate Manual Processes
Using an ecommerce platform to offer products for sale can make tedious manual tasks more manageable. The right platform helps automate checkout, billing, and inventory management processes with the help of apps instead of manual labor.
Employees can use their resources more efficiently by focusing on other aspects of the business, such as digital marketing or customer service. Sales teams are then able to focus on more significant accounts instead of tedious order processing for bulk purchases, which can be quickly completed through a self-service model available online.
B2B customers can utilize ecommerce platform technology to automate certain parts of the quoting process. This enables buyers to quickly request quotes from the storefront simply by adding items to a cart and submitting an RFQ with just a few clicks.
This system utilizes the online catalog and customer pricing and compiles leads into one centralized location for faster sales and customer service management. Depending on the configuration, representatives can quickly respond to requests with a quote attached to the B2B cart so customers can complete their orders without further assistance.
These quotes are usually stored and accessible through the customer’s account portal. Although customers can still submit purchase orders manually, if implemented correctly, your customer service or sales rep should be able to convert the quote into an order with just a few clicks.
Making the process of transitioning from quote to order faster and more efficient by enabling customers and sales staff to do it in a few clicks eliminates one of the most time-consuming manual tasks for both sides.
Improve Data-Driven Decision-Making
A website can provide a more in-depth look into customer activity, such as which products and pages are viewed the most frequently, how many users took advantage of coupons, the average time spent on each webpage, and the rate at which visitors leave the site. This data can inform marketing efforts, product offerings, pricing strategies, and discounts. You can better understand your customers’ needs by combining this data with customer service and sales representatives’ feedback.
Enhance Customer Relationships
Wholesale buyers generally need more time or luxury to stay in front of a desktop or laptop computer. Instead, they rely on their mobile devices to locate product-related information while they are out and about.
Wholesale ecommerce has made it easier for B2B buyers to quickly and conveniently find what they need and purchase it at a negotiated wholesale price without involving sales. With the move to an online marketplace, buying products at wholesale prices can now be done anywhere with a mobile device. This has made shopping more accessible and efficient for business buyers.
By transitioning to ecommerce with BigCommerce, Tectran has seen a tremendous increase in average order value (30%), orders (98%), and revenue (157%). Moreover, customer sign-ups have increased, and more customers are completing transactions online than ever. This shift has enabled the company to build better relationships with its clients and gain insights into their needs and preferences to serve them better.
Choosing A Wholesale Ecommerce Platform
Once you have figured out a strategy for digitizing your wholesale operations, it’s time to decide on the right wholesale ecommerce for B2B platform. Here are some features and capabilities that you should consider:
Meets Your Budget
When selecting an ecommerce platform, consider how it aligns with your budget and long-term plans. Here are some questions to ask yourself when making this decision:
- What is the total cost of setting up the site?
- Are there any out-of-the-box integrations that can help you reduce costs?
- What is the difficulty level of maintaining the site?
- What will be updated for you, and what will need to be updated manually?
- Who is responsible for managing security and upgrades?
Gone are the days of clunky, monolithic systems. To provide a smooth shopping experience for customers, your ecommerce platform should be equipped with APIs that enable you to connect it with other business software such as ERP, CRM, and PIM. Ensure that the ecommerce solution you select has robust APIs for seamless integration.
SEO And Content Marketing Capabilities
Wholesale buyers utilize the internet to search for products, so having quality content optimized for search engine optimization (SEO) is necessary to help shoppers find your website and make a decision. Your wholesale ecommerce site should be able to provide SEO-optimized content designed to address the detailed inquiries of potential customers. Furthermore, once customers are on the page, concise descriptions of products and their technical specifications can give them confidence that they are getting the right product.
Reducing the friction involved with B2B transactions is becoming increasingly important. The payment gateway and options you select can significantly impact the success of your ecommerce channel. B2B payments are more complex than inputting a credit card number or signing into PayPal; buyers may not be comfortable using their cards for large purchases. Businesses can make their purchasing process more flexible by being aware of the various payment methods available, from credit cards to Buy Now and Pay Later systems.
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
Q: Is Wholesale Ecommerce The Same As B2B?
A: Wholesale ecommerce is a form of B2B (business-to-business) commerce in which goods and services are exchanged between businesses. It typically involves large orders and bulk sales instead of individual consumer purchases. Additionally, the products sold are usually offered at lower prices than what is available to customers. For example, a manufacturer may offer discounted rates for orders placed in bulk.
Q: What Features Should I Look For In An Ecommerce Platform?
A: When selecting an ecommerce platform, you should consider features such as budget alignment, extensive integrations, SEO and content marketing capabilities, and payment versatility.
Q: Is The Shopiroller Platform Suitable For Small Businesses?
A: Yes, Shopiroller is an excellent solution for small businesses. It offers all the features needed to manage a successful ecommerce business, such as automated customer groups and order management.
Q: What Other Features Does Shopiroller Offer?
A: Shopiroller offers a wide range of features, including automated customer groups to segment customers according to their buying habits, order management for tracking orders in real-time, built-in price list functionality so that clients can customize their catalogs and pricing, and extensive integrations with other business software such as ERP, CRM, and PIM.
Q: Does Shopiroller Have Any Security Features?
A: Shopiroller has various security features to protect customers’ data. These include two-factor authentication, encryption for all communication between devices and servers, regular vulnerability scans and audits, and more. Additionally, Shopiroller provides complete visibility into customer activity so businesses can protect their customers from fraud or any other malicious activity.
Q: Does Shopiroller Offer Customer Service?
A: Yes, Shopiroller provides customer support services, including phone, email, and chat support.
Wholesale ecommerce for B2B is a game-changing strategy that can help businesses streamline operations, maximize efficiency, and drive growth. By leveraging the power of ecommerce platforms, B2B companies can optimize their operations and create a competitive advantage in today’s digital landscape. Organizations that use the Shopiroller platform to power their ecommerce operations can gain a competitive edge in the wholesale market. This platform offers a single front and back-end experience, automated customer groups, order management, and built-in price list functionality for client customization — giving businesses the tools they need to stand out from the competition. With the Shopiroller platform, wholesale companies can streamline their finances, increase their online presence and grow their hold on the market. Try Shopiroller today and take your wholesale business to the next level!